Education Hot Topic on Ideas Tour

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House Speaker Philip Gunn says education is a recurring theme at the town meetings he has held across Mississippi this week. He says comments and ideas have varied.

Gunn, a Republican from Clinton, wrapped up his "ideas" tour Friday in Brookhaven. He made earlier stops in Jackson, Greenwood, Hernando, Tupelo, Columbus, Meridian, Hattiesburg and Biloxi.

Gunn says health care has been another topic of concern. He says education and health care are the areas on which the state spends most of its tax dollars.

In Meridian earlier, Gunn said citizens can have an active role in government through sharing their concerns and ways legislators can accomplish the goals that are important to constituents.

"So many times legislators are inaccessible, especially during the session, when they're in Jackson," said Gunn. "And we want to hear from the people. The purpose of this meeting is to hear ideas that the citizens of this state have to improve the quality of life in Mississippi."

Some speakers said the state should provide funding for early childhood education and work with colleges to award scholarships to encourage talented students to stay in the state.

Gunn says his meetings have reaffirmed that lawmakers have been right to make education and health care priorities.